While it is always difficult when a relationship needs to end, research indicates that some ways of breaking up are better than others. In fact, it is possible to learn how to break up with someone compassionately and effectively. Such an approach helps to minimize pain and confusion for both partners, and sometimes even preserves a friendship.
Specifically, research by Sprecher and colleagues noted that strategies primarily focused on using a positive tone and open communication were among the most compassionate and effective (Sprecher, Zimmerman, & Abrahams, 2010; Sprecher, Zimmerman, & Fehr, 2014). Across several studies, the team found that participants reported certain strategies to be among the best:
- Finding a time to talk face to face with a partner about the desire to break up.
- Telling the partner that they did not regret the time spent together in the relationship.
- Honestly conveying wishes to the partner.
- Verbally explaining to the partner, in person, the reasons for wanting to break up.
- Emphasizing to the partner the good things gained from the relationship in the past.